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Stroke of Midnight

Is it Scary?

The Escapees

The Escapees is essentially a Jean Rollin vampire movie, without the vampires or any other supernatural baddies.  The plot is there basically to string surreal set pieces together and of course to show off beautiful nubile girls.  The Escapees is now making it’s American video debut in any format thanks to this DVD release from Redemption Video.

Marie and Michelle are patients in an insane asylum that they seem to be the only inmates.  Michelle is a tough rebel and Marie is nearly catatonic speaking to no one and spending her days in a rocking chair on the lawn.  Michelle enlists Marie’s aid in geting out of her straight jacket and enabling her escape.  Marie speaks for the first time in years telling Michelle that she wants to go with her.  Michelle reluctantly agrees and thus begins a female mix matched buddy road movie.

The pair travel though some truly odd locals including a burlesque show for sailors in the middle of a junk yard, bizarre dive bars, and various docks and shipyards.  The pair of befriended by a leather clad pick pocket who ultimately arranges for the girls to set sail for the Leeward Islands.

The girls are never really in any danger and little is made of their apparent mental problems apart from a truly strange scene on a closed ice rink when Marie dressed in skates and ice dancing dress realizes her breakdown was caused from exhaustion due to competitive skating, or something, nothing is very well explained.  Ultimately things go terribly wrong as the girls’ escape to freedom comes near, with tragic results.

The film is rather entertaining even without the delirium of most of Rollin’s vampire films and has decidedly less sex and violence than one is accustomed to.  One would also expect some trippy hallucinations from a story about asylum escapees, but no such garishness on display here.   The acting from the leads is rather good although some of the smaller roles range from good to laughably bad.  The video looks surprisingly good although there are some lengthy passages with annoying vertical lines, but nothing to get too concerned about.   Extras include and interview with Jean Rollin and some trailers.

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